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Old 12-20-2017, 11:00 AM   #1
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Gross Weight Vs. Actual Weight For RV Title

Hello everybody,

Ok, my eyes are starting to cross searching for an answers on this.

I have a 38' Blue Bird TC/2000 with a gross vehicle weight of 36,500. DOT specifies that a CDL is not required if the vehicle weight does not exceed 26,000 even with air brakes (mine has air brakes). I realize this varies from state to state, but is valid in my home state of WA. It is my understanding that the GVWR is the maximum loaded weight (kids & equipment) based on the axle ratings, and not the empty weight.

Q1 When the finished conversion is weighed for inspection, does the new title reflect the actual weight, or is it the factory GVWR...in which case I'm hosed ?

Q2 Does anybody know what the stock empty weight of my '38 foot TC/2000 is?
My google foo isn't up to the task of getting a decent answer. I have seen everything from 17,000 to 24,000 suggested.

I'm at a real crossroad here. The real investment in time and money is starting in earnest this spring, and I need to know if I'm better off cutting bait.

Thanx in advance,
Casey
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Old 12-20-2017, 11:24 AM   #2
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The GVWR is the max load the bus chassis can carry. As long as you do not modify any part of the load-bearing frame or the suspension, the manufacturer's GVWR is what is recorded (at least it is in Indiana).

The driver of any vehicle that has a GVWR over 26k lbs., and that is driven for commercial purposes, must have a CDL - that's federal law. The actual limit is lower, but that's where the Fed Gov't has drawn the line in their regulations.

Now, look at that italicized part more closely. If you are not driving for commercial purposes, you do not need a federal driver's license (a.k.a. a CDL), as you do not fall under those Federal laws (only people engaged in commerce). However, your state may still have something to say about it - like an air brake endorsement on a "regular" DL - so you still need to do some investigation on what your state requires.

However, once you are legal in your "home" state, you are legal elsewhere in the U.S.A. by reciprocal agreements among the states.

There are also vehicle length limits. By-and-large interstates can handle up to 45' for a class B vehicle (like a bus) and 65' for an articulated vehicle (semis and other vehicles pulling trailers). However, some states like Colorado further limit vehicle lengths due to mountain passes and narrow mountain roads. Some roads also have height limits due to bridges and overpasses.

There are also weight limits on various roads (interstates vs. state highways vs. secondary roads) and bridges. In Indiana we also have "frost laws" that even further limit weight on certain roads during the winter (mainly secondary roads - to protect the roadbed during freeze/thaw cycles).

A good Trucker's map will give you all of the interstate and state highway restrictions. However, for secondary roads you are pretty much on your own (watch for signs!!). A Trucker's GPS device/service should give you all of the interstate and state highway restrictions, and be a bit hit-and-miss on the secondary roads.
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Old 12-20-2017, 11:32 AM   #3
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If you're driving your bus around on a weekend, pull into a weigh station. The actual weight will show on the readout. It's not official, but it's accurate.

It's interesting to read the weight of the vehicle when it's all stripped out for the build.
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Old 12-20-2017, 11:52 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robin97396 View Post
If you're driving your bus around on a weekend, pull into a weigh station. The actual weight will show on the readout. It's not official, but it's accurate.

It's interesting to read the weight of the vehicle when it's all stripped out for the build.
Once I have mine all stripped, this is exactly what I'm going to do. I think the CAT scales only charge about $8 or $10 for the weigh.
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Old 12-20-2017, 12:16 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkyDee View Post
The GVWR is the max load the bus chassis can carry. As long as you do not modify any part of the load-bearing frame or the suspension, the manufacturer's GVWR is what is recorded (at least it is in Indiana).

The driver of any vehicle that has a GVWR over 26k lbs., and that is driven for commercial purposes, must have a CDL - that's federal law. The actual limit is lower, but that's where the Fed Gov't has drawn the line in their regulations.

Now, look at that italicized part more closely. If you are not driving for commercial purposes, you do not need a federal driver's license (a.k.a. a CDL), as you do not fall under those Federal laws (only people engaged in commerce). However, your state may still have something to say about it - like an air brake endorsement on a "regular" DL - so you still need to do some investigation on what your state requires.

However, once you are legal in your "home" state, you are legal elsewhere in the U.S.A. by reciprocal agreements among the states.

There are also vehicle length limits. By-and-large interstates can handle up to 45' for a class B vehicle (like a bus) and 65' for an articulated vehicle (semis and other vehicles pulling trailers). However, some states like Colorado further limit vehicle lengths due to mountain passes and narrow mountain roads. Some roads also have height limits due to bridges and overpasses.

There are also weight limits on various roads (interstates vs. state highways vs. secondary roads) and bridges. In Indiana we also have "frost laws" that even further limit weight on certain roads during the winter (mainly secondary roads - to protect the roadbed during freeze/thaw cycles).

A good Trucker's map will give you all of the interstate and state highway restrictions. However, for secondary roads you are pretty much on your own (watch for signs!!). A Trucker's GPS device/service should give you all of the interstate and state highway restrictions, and be a bit hit-and-miss on the secondary roads.
This is a perfect answer.

One thing ... Only if you are driving commercially do you need to stop at the weigh centers at state lines.

However, if you are driving a bus that is bright yellow and covered in School Bus signage, etc, it is prudent to stop anyway.

Last thing you need is a state trooper chasing you down to ask why you failed to stop, and asking a bunch of awkward questions that he might not know the legal answers to.

When you pull into a weigh station, they simply direct you onto the weigh-bridge, and if your vehicle is not over weight you are good to go.
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Old 12-20-2017, 12:26 PM   #6
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Join Date: Oct 2015
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Chassis: TC 2000
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Thanx for the replies guys,

I get so locked into relying on the inter-tubes for answers, I forget that sometimes the old school phone is a better option

After waiting about 10 minutes on "ignore" with WA state DOL, I have the answer to my first question. They base the title on actual weight from a state certified weigh station, not the GVWR...WOO-HOO .

As to my second question, actual weight, as mentioned above getting it weighed is the best option. However that isn't practical for me. I live in the sticks and had a family member with a class B CDL deliver it to me..I don't have one and can't legally drive it to the scales.

If anybody out there knows what 38 foot TC/2000 actually weighs PLEASE let me know.

Thank you everybody,
Casey
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Old 12-20-2017, 12:29 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CaseyBrown View Post
Thanx for the replies guys,

I get so locked into relying on the inter-tubes for answers, I forget that sometimes the old school phone is a better option

After waiting about 10 minutes on "ignore" with WA state DOL, I have the answer to my first question. They base the title on actual weight from a state certified weigh station, not the GVWR...WOO-HOO .

As to my second question, actual weight, as mentioned above getting it weighed is the best option. However that isn't practical for me. I live in the sticks and had a family member with a class B CDL deliver it to me..I don't have one and can't legally drive it to the scales.

If anybody out there knows what 38 foot TC/2000 actually weighs PLEASE let me know.

Thank you everybody,
Casey
Why can't you drive it yourself?

You will not be driving it commercially.
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Old 12-20-2017, 01:14 PM   #8
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Chassis: TC 2000
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Rated Cap: 72
Hi Twigg,

"Why can't you drive it yourself?

You will not be driving it commercially."

As I understand it (conversation with my insurance agent) until the title is changed to RV it is still considered a commercial vehicle whether it's being used as such or not . Obviously she could be wrong, but I would rather not have the debate with the state trooper manning the weigh station.

If I can't get an answer here or elsewhere online, I may take my chances and go that route.
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Old 12-20-2017, 01:57 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CaseyBrown View Post
Hi Twigg,

"Why can't you drive it yourself?

You will not be driving it commercially."

As I understand it (conversation with my insurance agent) until the title is changed to RV it is still considered a commercial vehicle whether it's being used as such or not . Obviously she could be wrong, but I would rather not have the debate with the state trooper manning the weigh station.

If I can't get an answer here or elsewhere online, I may take my chances and go that route.
It is considered a commercial vehicle, but insured for personal use. If you are bringing it home, law-enforcement won't even see it. School buses are invisible unless you do something dumb.

The weigh stations won't ask any questions, they will just weigh you and send you on your way. They don't come out, you don't go in unless requested to.
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Old 12-20-2017, 02:10 PM   #10
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Hi again Twigg,

Ok..Keep in mind this is Washington state, where no rule is to draconian or stupid. I just got off the phone with the Dept Of Licensing again and my fears were confirmed. Until the title is changed to RV, a CDL is required to drive it.

This leaves me in the absurd position of having to find a CDL driver to get me to the weigh station/inspection area to get title converted AND THEN I can drive it home

The weigh stations around my neck of the woods are manned by state troopers.

So I continue to beg the schoolie community for the weight of my empty bus
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